The Top Mountain Bike Trails in the USA, State by State

Singletracks has been collecting mountain bikers’ reviews of trails all around the world for more than a decade now. We crunched the data from tens of thousands of trail reviews to find the top mountain bike trails in the USA by state. Here are the results (click for a larger, interactive map).

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Note, these selections represent the opinions of thousands of mountain bikers all around the USA*. While it is difficult to compare MTB trails across state lines, identifying the top trail within each state yields interesting results.

What makes a mountain bike trail system stand out?

Judging by the list above, good trails close to large cities can be more popular than scenic or even epic trails within the same state. Most of these systems also offer trails for a variety of skill levels along with decent mileage (10+ miles).

Some surprising results: the top trail in Arizona is not located in Sedona or Flagstaff (see note about trails being located close to population centers). Colorado boasts several amazing rides (including Monarch Crest and Buffalo Creek) but 18 Road comes out on top, thanks in part to the large number of trails to choose from, events like the Fruita Fat Tire festival, and proximity to Moab.

And even in states where the top trail choice seems a bit debatable, the second or third place trail usually has it covered. For example, in Florida, both Santos and Alafia are excellent trail systems–and they’re ranked #1 and #2, respectively, within the state. See this page to view the runners up in each state (use the dropdown menu on the right side of the page to select your state).

I don’t know about you, but for me this graphic just cries out for a road trip!

* Trails are ranked based on the average review, the number of reviews, number of Singletracks members who have ridden the trail, and number of Singletracks members who want to ride the trail.

19 thoughts on “The Top Mountain Bike Trails in the USA, State by State

  1. Great info graphic except for Michigan where the Copper Harbor label is shown on lower Michigan and on top of that one and a half counties are missing including the location of Copper Harbor. Michigan part of graphic = Fail.

  2. It’s time to let the fur fly!

    Well, not really. I’ve ridden in half the states (plus DC and a few Canadian Provinces), and while I might have a different personal fave in most states,the algorithm seems to have selected a worthy top spot more often than not. For my money, there are but five choices which seem to be clearly missing the mark:
    1. California. How could anything top the Downieville Downhill? That is a perennial favorite among hard core riders and nobody who has ridden it seems to be able to get enough of it. Other top CA trails include Hole in the Ground and the Tahoe Rim.
    2. Arizona. Black Canyon is awesome, but nothing in AZ compares to Sedona. The Highline/Templeton route in unparalleled in scenery, challenge, scenery, fun, scenery, variety and scenery. Other top AZ trails include 50 Year Trail, Mt Elden, and South Mountain.
    3. New Mexico. White Mesa is wonderfully unique, but it’s kind of a one-trick pony. For the best all around ride in NM, head for Tunnel Canyon/Otero Canyon. Other NM notables include the South Boundary trail, High Desert Trail System, and Alien Run.
    4. North Dakota. Three words: Maah Daah Hey. Period.
    5. Missouri. While I haven’t ridden extensively in the Show-Me State, I’m confident nothing compares to the fun and challenge of Landahl, except maybe for the IMBA epic Berryman.

    • I agree, Downieville should probably be on top in CA–guess more people just need to review it!

      Maah Dahh Hey is definitely on my list for a bikepacking trip some day.

      Not sure what’s up with Missouri. It looks like the MO trails don’t get a ton of reviews so maybe it’s just a case of not having enough data yet.

    • Update: Just drilled down in CA and MO and found Downieville and Landahl are both #2 in their states–so we’re not too far off.

      Landahl somehow managed a 4-star average rating which isn’t super. Maybe folks coming from out of state had higher expectations?

      • Or maybe it’s the other way around. Coming from Co, I had no expectations and was pleasantly surprised. Most folks probably don’t expect great biking within a stones throw of KC.

        Maybe the locals don’t know what they have there, or at least it’s not a style that suits the typical midwestern cyclist. It is, after all, a highly technical trail.

        Maybe some KC area/Missouri residents could shed some light?

      • I looked back and it turns out I have Landahl 5 stars, but I know I’m reluctant to go all in for even a really good place if it isn’t kinda epic.

    • While I would definitely choose Downieville over Demo Forest, Demo Forest is pretty rad… and with the new trail developments there, it’s only getting better. Since we only have 5 stars to award, I gave Demo a 5 star waiting as well… If it was a 10 star scale, it probably wouldn’t have ranked as high as Downieville, but it’s too good to give it 4 :)

  3. Since you’ve thrown down the criteria used to compile the list, it’s hard to argue with the results. I do agree with the article that areas with a well attended festival (i.e. Fruita) are going to get more reviews which obviously boosts their score. As much as I like the 18 Road area, I don’t even think it’s the best riding area in Fruita but it is the most user friendly for every level of rider so it’s bound to get more favorable reviews. My personal favorite in Colorado is Phil’s World but it’s off the beaten path in Cortez so it doesn’t see the traffic that Fruita does.

  4. Hey ST friends. Could you someday share with us your algorithm for calculating your best trails rankings. Of course there will never be a perfect algorithm, and it’s your website, so you have the final say. But you might get some good insights from others — different weights on factors, maybe interaction between factors that you have missed or insights into the nature of the interaction. I’m sure some of your readers have solid backgrounds in statistical analysis and great experience to apply to that background. I have used your list for several years now and really love it. So this isn’t a complains. Just interested in the analysis for fun. I’m not worried about a “perfect” ranking. And I have seen the discussions and refinements in the rankings over the years. All in all, great stuff.

  5. I would love to see a ranking of the top three or five trails in each state by category of trail — XC, DH, AM and Bike Packing. Obviously that would not be just one article. It wouldn’t need to be based on analysis — just the “expert opinion” of a few of you “at ST”. Or you could select a few top, highly experienced riders from each state and have them give you their rankings. I bet the discussions would go wild within many states; there will always be disagreement, but we would gain a lot of info and insights from the original data and the discussions. Thank you for all the great work you do to enhance our passion and fun on mtb. VERY grateful for all your efforts.

  6. Can’t please everyone! Funny how personal we take our trails, such passion! Think the top 5 idea is a good one. Single best trail is never going to work, with all the opinions out there. Think there comes a point when a trail is so good it doesn’t matter if it’s the best, a “must ride”- that might be a good title along with the top 5. 5 must rides per state sure would be a fun list. Like the article and enjoyed the graphics. To the critics, just want to say, I’d ride any trail on that list and it would be a great day and that’s good enough for me.

  7. This is awesome but it makes me want to cry when I see Blankets Creek as the number 1 trail in GA. But I can see why since since it’s way more frequented and ride-able than the beautiful and epic Pinhoti area and it seems like NC is having the same thing with Tsali. Regardless my bucket list just got bigger.

  8. Whomever picked Angler’s Ridge for Virginia certainly doesn’t know much about Mtn Biking in VA. What about the fabulous Carvins Cove in Roanoke VA with 40+ miles of trails or at Massanutten Resort with over 20 miles. Both offer a wide range of beginner to expert trails from wide doubletrack to technical, steep, rocky singletrack and everything in between.

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